Agents Of Mayhem is the latest open world action adventure title developed by Volition. The group responsible for the popular Saints Row series of games. Agents of Mayhem takes everything that the team have learned making the Saints Row series and it’s been moulded into this new IP that will be instantly familiar to fans of Saints Row. The core mechanics are similar but refined, the writing style is in the same vein but by delivering a new IP, the team have been given the freedom to provide new gameplay mechanics, a great cast of characters and move the plot to a new setting while still remaining set in the same universe as Saints Row.
One of the greatest parts of Agents of Mayhem was the story telling. It involves a large cast of fairly unique and quirky characters and is presented in an cartoon animated art-style. There are still 3d rendered cutscenes throughout the game, but the main story points and mission intro’s are animated and makes it feel as though you are playing through a more mature Saturday morning cartoon. Very much inspired by G.I Joe.
Agents of Mayhem is set in a futuristic cyber version of Seoul, South Korea. The design and visuals of the open world were definitely one of the highlights in this game. The art style and city design really pop and reminded me of the classic Ratchet and Clank games. A great meshing of realistic set pieces but presented in a cartoony way.
While many open world titles normally try go go big and make bigger and bigger landscapes, most of which are big but hardly detailed. Agents of Mayhem reins it in and focuses on delivering a smaller, more detailed open world that isn’t overly large but has made up for it by providing missions and gameplay mechanics that rely on using the cities verticality.
The high level plot of the game revolves around the organisation known as M.A.Y.H.E.M. (Multinational Agency Hunting Evil Masterminds) trying to stop the enemy organisation known as L.E.G.I.O.N. (the League of Evil Gentleman Intent on Obliterating Nations) from destroying the world’s nations. LEGION are presented as a group made up of super villains in the style of the aforementioned Saturday morning cartoons.
The gameplay is broken up into a number of episodes, each of which can be played through again in multiple different play styles due to the ability to tackle each mission with your chosen set of Agents. Each of the 12 unlockable agents have their own unique play style and can be mixed and matched to suit the way you want to play. For instance, Hardtack uses shotgun as his primary weapon, while Hollywood utilises an assault rifle and is better at taking out enemies from a distance.
While the Agents offer up largely varied approaches unfortunately the mission structures do not. They often follow the pattern of traverse the city and locate the objective, take out the enemies at the objective or disable some machinery and then take out the boss at the end of the episode.
Even though the mission formula is repetitive, Agents of Mayhem is still very fun to play. The moment to moment gameplay is entertaining, the gun combat feels good and the varied play styles of each of the agents are different enough to stop it getting too repetitive and boring too quickly.
Playing through the missions earns you a number of in game resources that can be spent to level up and enhance the Agents. These unlockable skills, gear, weapons and abilities provide an endless amount of customisation and fine tuning of each character. This allows you to play through missions using the Agents you like and have them specced up to your liking, making them truly feel like YOUR squad.
There are a number of optional side quests available during the game, although their repetitive nature didn’t make me rush out of my way to complete them unless I was trying to earn new skill points or level up my agents.
The ‘Special episodes’ are side stories told in the game that I really enjoyed. They have the main plot take a temporary back seat and focus more on developing individual character’s back stories and relationships between other Agent’s and often unlocked a new Agent to play with in the game. I wish there were more of them available as they were one of the highlights.
All throughout playing through Agents Of Mayhem I couldn’t help but think multiple times “This game is crying out for an online mode”. So many of it’s systems perfectly suited online co-op play, or even a PVP mode traversing through the amazing city they had built. I can only imagine how fun it could have been with the varied character styles and great variety of weapons and gadgets already in the game. It just feels like a missed opportunity on Volition’s part to keep players interested and provide them a reason to level up the Agents, as the groundwork is already in front of them.
Overall Agents Of Mayhem is a highly entertaining, open world third person action game. It’s world and character design provide a unique and interesting take on the genre and combined with the animated cutscenes make for an overall enjoyable gameplay experience. It is let down by it’s repetitive mission structure and lack of online modes, but would still recommend it to any fans of Saints Row or anyone looking to experience a quirky take on the third person shooter genre.
A PS4 review copy of Agents Of Mayhem was provided by the Australian distributor for the purpose of this review.